Simply yesterday we reported that Universal had submitted a proposal to reopen its Orlando theme parks, and at this time we now have concrete data, from the corporate, about what that’s going to seem like. It’s so much of knowledge so we’ll break it down as finest we will.
As for dates, a team-member-preview will probably be held on June 1 and June 2 in order that the brand new procedures might be practiced and refined. On June Three and June four a restricted variety of visitors (most certainly native annual cross holders) will probably be invited to go to because the park continues its preparation course of. And for everyone, the general public opening will probably be on June 5 (though Universal says it is going to be “persevering with to handle each day attendance”). It must be famous that the parks that make up the Florida resort – Universal Studios Orlando, Islands of Journey and the “themed water park” Volcano Bay – will probably be working at what Universal calls “lowered and managed attendance.” How lowered and managed stays to be seen.
By way of how your go to to the Orlando parks will differ from pre-coronavirus,
- Company and workforce members are required to put on face coverings and observe social distancing pointers
- Theme park visitors in addition to all Universal workforce members are required to have temperature checks earlier than coming on-site; these with temperatures of 100.four or larger is not going to be allowed to enter
Along with face coverings and temperature checks, visitors can count on the next once they go to Universal Orlando:
- Staggered parking
- Managed and lowered each day park attendance
- Managed and lowered attraction ridership, present attendance and restaurant seating. Some areas and occasions could stay closed for now.
- Elevated cleansing and disinfection of meals areas, experience automobiles, restrooms and different frequent “contact factors” that transcend Universal’s already aggressive cleansing procedures
- Social distancing practices in any respect areas by means of the parks, inside sights and queues and at eating places
- Use of digital traces at choose sights
- Cashless funds and “no contact” insurance policies the place doable
There’s so much to unpack right here however allow us to first acknowledge that Universal “will quickly schedule workforce members for coaching on its new procedures,” which is fairly superb contemplating the opening is two weeks away. I lately talked to at least one skilled on Florida theme parks who guessed that it will take a month to arrange for a reopening of one of many Disney parks. So that is an extremely condensed timeframe to primarily practice or retrain workforce members on totally new operational procedures that tackle much more severity and weight contemplating they’re conserving visitors wholesome and uninfected.
Different questions we had: With the temperature checks, are they going to be offered by licensed medical professionals (as is the case at Disney Springs) or will they only be an everyday workforce member or safety guard? And the way dependable is a temperature studying within the subtropical local weather of Orlando, Florida? If all people is scorching, received’t the readings be thrown?
The official press launch additionally omits any reference to the resort’s assortment of resorts, which means that they are going to stay closed. So throughout the first a part of this phased reopening, Universal is clearly focusing on Orlando natives and people with an annual cross. Plainly conserving visitors within the tight quarters of the resorts continues to be an excessive amount of of a legal responsibility (there’s additionally a difficulty of the transportation visitors need to take from the resorts to the theme parks, together with the buses and boats, which might be problematic).
Clearly there will probably be an emphasis on cellular ordering (for meals and beverage choices) and “digital queues” as an alternative of conventional traces, an idea Universal launched, to nice impact, with the Race By New York with Jimmy Fallon attraction that debuted in 2017. (Sure, there’s a Jimmy Fallon-themed experience at Universal Orlando.) However with face masks being required … how are folks speculated to eat and drink? Particularly if you’re not supposed to the touch your face masks as soon as it’s on. Curiously, the official press launch notes: “We are going to convert all menus to single-use in our eating venues.” Universal additionally factors visitors to the official Universal Orlando app, which is able to mean you can order meals, make purchases, have a look at menus or signal into your digital queue. Previous to the outbreak, Universal hadn’t emphasised its app the identical method, say, Disney makes it an absolute necessity (when visiting their Florida parks at the very least). COVID-19 has had the surprising impact of pushing that know-how to the forefront.
Additionally on the actual fact sheet are these attention-grabbing tidbits: “Company will probably be required to make use of hand sanitizer earlier than boarding experience automobiles. For any 3-D attraction, Universal Orlando workforce members will individually hand out 3-D glasses as an alternative of visitors having to choose them up themselves.” The hand sanitizer is attention-grabbing, as a result of it is going to be required of all rides and never simply the extra “interactive” sights like Males in Black Alien Assault (which requires you to function a “laser gun” on the experience). Additionally, it’s shocking that they’re conserving the 3D parts of a few of the rides and sights. You’d suppose that they’d merely flip off the performance so no one would require the 3D glasses. However the handing out of 3D glasses at the very least prevents icky fingers from going over a number of pairs of glasses and makes certain they’re all correctly cleaned earlier than returning to visitors, and one imagines the footage for these rides exists solely in 3D format.
The working hours for the parks will probably be extremely brief, as properly. Universal by no means leaves their parks open for that lengthy, however these new hours are actually brief – the theme parks will solely be open till 6 and the water park till 5. (The retail-and-dinning hall CityWalk will probably be open till 10.) It is likely to be as a result of, with the park being closed earlier than dinner, then that’s one much less meal that they’ve to determine find out how to make. And the disinfecting/cleansing procedures following park closing have to be extremely in depth.
And final – however definitely not least – it’s actually wild that the water park, Volcano Bay, will probably be reopening. Given that there’s water all over the place, how is hand sanitizer speculated to even stick with your fingers and the way are you speculated to put on a face masks in the event you’re continuously getting doused? Additionally there are some unknowable components like a number of of the sights, which characteristic visitors in inflatable tubes that journey at various speeds, usually bumping into different visitors (like in a lazy river situation). Are these slides and sights merely going to be shut down? And the way will social distancing pointers be maintained in, say, a large wave pool?
It will likely be fascinating to see how Universal handles all of this – what surprising issues pop up, how visitors will react to all the brand new procedures, and if, even with all the protocols in place, visitors will proceed to get sick. It definitely takes quite a lot of confidence and gumption to be the primary theme park out of the gate. However Universal appears to be trying ahead to be the canary, er, minion within the coal mine.
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